I wish it was June, not December

I
wish it was June,
not December

Even May,
or March at a pinch,
would be better

but not December

Too cold
Too wet
Too miserable
in December

And
there’s
always
Christmas
to consider

with

Dry mince pies
Carol singers outside
Sickly mulled wine
And presents to hide

Then

on the big family day
comatose and bloated
in front of the telly
watching Home Alone 2
with relatives smelly

NO!!

Give me June
not December!

Even May,
or March at a pinch,
would be better

Then

Afloat
in my boat
on the river

sipping Shiraz
for my liver

face to the sun
belly full of wine
heart full of song
mind deliciously empty

and at peace
with nature.

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Nefarious Bigoted Wanks (Apparently)

Flying
to Belfast.

It’s not Rome.

Or
gay Paris
or
sunny Capris
or
Sierra Leone.

But it’s home.

Belfast.

Cold
and
dank.

Full of
nefarious,
bigoted,
religious
wanks.

Apparently.

Sectarian
pubs
and
paramilitary
taxi ranks.

Allegedly.

But
it’s
home.

My
Home.

And.

Please
don’t believe
the vitriolic pap.
The melodramatic
small minded crap.

You’d love it here!
The craic is mighty!

(Just don’t mention politics or religion)

Mibsters on Recess #WrittenRiver

They
surround
the circle
drawn in dust,
the mibsters
on recess,
mini mobsters
on release

Their
fancy glass taws in rows
thirteen by thirteen,
a holy cross

(their mibster molls
make daisy chains)

The boys jostle,
spit, deride as
they knuckle down with
their shooters shiny bright

These nit haired, itchy kids.
Playground gladiators in
cotton shorts and sandals:
nails bitten to the quick
as a wave of tension builds

as they play for keepsies.

#WrittenRiver

Castles, Ricks and Stacks.

As a teenager in Magherafelt, nothing
more than a mere boy, I became a willing
turf cutter’s mate. I earned a few bob
lending a hand to my Dad and got to drive
an old Massey Ferguson from time to time.

He cut the turf with a long handled spade,
with a blade so sharp it could cut a man’s
foot in two, then we castled in threes to dry.
After a week or so, as the sun did it’s job,
the cut turf was ricked and stacked.

It was back breaking work. Cold, heavy black cuts
of peat tossed with well practiced throws:
caught with well practiced catches. Tired,
we lay panting at the side of deep dug moss holes.
Running our hands through the cool brackish water.

I didn’t dare smoke. My father was a godly man.
So I held my cravings in and tucked into
jam sandwiches my mother had brought as we
fought nipping clouds of midges in the heat of
the June afternoon.

We timed our exit to the minute. The moss was
alive, crawling with the dreaded midge. A few,
a man and boy could tolerate, but as the sun fell
beyond the infinite flat horizon, they rose like
a winged army to harass and bite.

The tractor trails were narrow and deadly. One
false turn and a tumble in an open tractor cab
into a moss hole twelve feet deep and another
twelve of black peat silt beckoned the foolhardy.
We drove carefully but with purpose.

Once, we mistimed our day. It was late in the
Summer and we had loaded hundreds of rough
earthy briquettes into a high sided trailer.
Tied and secured (My dad was a stickler for
doing things well) we left.

Too late. The air was alive with buzzing. The
heather, pink and sweet became an animal unleashed
as clouds of midges drawn to our sweat and scent
bit anything exposed. My mother suffered badly.
Her face swollen, red, puffed up.

After that, we had enough of turf cutting for
a while. There were sheds full of the stuff at
my Gran’s. Enough for three winter’s ahead. We
did go back. Just the once. One last trailer load
and one last look across the pink heather.

I haven’t set foot on a peat moss since.

Thumbing Gordon Ramsey

If
sixty
is
the new
forty

If
thirty seven
is
the new
twenty two

then

why do I feel like a blob of glue?
or
a byproduct of melting a kangaroo?
or
the chewed up glob of chewing gum stuck under my shoe?

and

my eyesight is failing
I can’t hear the TV
and my morning wood won’t

(unless I’m on hols somewhere nice like Capri)

I’m attracted to corduroy
My waistline has lifted
Its under my armpits as
My midriff has shifted

I have an opinion on everything:
weather, politics and religion
I watch too many cookery shows and
sprinkle pomegranate seeds on everything!

(Not quite everything. Not on squab pigeon.)

Teenagers annoy me as do children and pets:
small cars, bright colours and celebrity vets.
I like pale creamy walls and Jeremy Vine
and relaxing with a book and a glass of red wine.

Am I slipping towards middle aged mediocrity?
Losing my razor sharp, analytical comedy?
As I thumb Gordon Ramsey for new broccoli recipes?

(Not literally thumbing Gordon, of course! His books, you perv!)

Let’s face it.
It’s inevitable.
We’re all growing old:
falling apart,
from our heads to our toes
and inside our minds
old memories unfold
of when we were younger
and less comatose.